Facebook Should Pay All of Us

The trick is that most people think they are getting a good deal out of Facebook; we think of Facebook to be “free,” and, as marketing professors explain, “consumers overreact to free.” Most people don’t feel like they are actually paying when the payment is personal data and when there is no specific sensation of having handed anything over. If you give each of your friends a hundred dollars, you…

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Sesame Street Is Moving to HBO, and the Symbolism Is Crushing

I’ve been fascinated by the rhetoric of headlines surrounding the “Sesame Street moves to HBO” story. * HBO gentrifies ‘Sesame Street’ –VentureBeat * Sesame Street Episodes Will Shrink to Half an Hour –Time * Sesame Street Is Heading to HBO, and Getting Even Bigger –Esquire * This episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the letters HBO –Financial Times In short, Sesame Street was founded to help low-income kids keep up…


Why Teachers, Parents, and Society at Large Have Destroyed Kids’ Love of Learning

I have experimented with rewarding students for embracing complexity, taking risks, and for celebrating their failures. Returning to musical theater after a 25-year break has been a valuable lesson in humility for me, and a reminder of just how scary it is — exciting and scary — to do something new. The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of…

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No girl wins: three ways women unlearn their love of video games – Offworld

Several times I assigned Brenda Laurel’s Utopian Entrepreneur, which described the rise and heartbreaking fall of her girl-centered, girl-positive gaming company, Purple Moon during the 1990s. My own daughter (who is 13) has enjoyed man more opportunities to be both girly and nerdy — something that seems to have been a lot harder 20 years ago. Offworld recently published a thoughtful article about the current landscape for girl gamers. My…


A salute lost to history

History is complex and baffling and fascinating. Reading this (an explanation that the stiff-arm salute that we now identify with the Nazis was a general gesture that was common in America before WWII) made my head spin almost as much as reading about the myth of 8 unbroken hours of sleep. A group of about 50 children is raising and saluting the American flag. It is not the customary military…


Ursula K. Le Guin: A Personal Take on Go Set a Watchman

  Before Watchman was published, I was skeptical and unhappy — all the publicity made it sound like nothing but a clever lawyer and a greedy publisher in cahoots to exploit an old woman. Now, having read the book, I glimpse a different tragedy. Lee was a young writer on a roll, with several novels in mind to write after this one. She wrote none of them. Silence, lifelong. I…

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Here’s What Happens in the Hour After You Drink a Can of Coke (and What Happened to Me When I Tried It)

As a kid, I remember liking the famous “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” commercial. As a teenager, I remember seeing a series of Coke ads in the summer, with the theme of “It’s too hot, look at these pictures of happy people in the snow, buy a Coke,” and then 6 months later I remember seeing commercials with the theme “It’s too cold, look at these happy…